The basic freedoms and human rights we enjoy as Americans do not require a cultural Christian majority.
A recent Pew Research report suggested that American Christians could become a minority of the population in less than 50 years. And for some, this has led to a fear that the decline of cultural Christianity in America could spell bad news for the prospects for democracy here.
Because, while many people today are talking about how Christianity (especially when combined with nationalism) might be a threat to democracy, it is still more common to think that Christianity is overall good for democracy. In fact, many conservative evangelicals believe Christianity is necessary for a free society.
After recently publishing a book on Christian nationalism, I’ve given numerous talks, interviews, and podcasts and have had countless conversations with friends and colleagues in evangelical circles on the subject. And I have found that there is a possessive, proprietary attitude toward America and democracy—along with an insistence that a Christian culture is practically a prerequisite for democracy to survive.
The conversation goes something like this: Whenever I argue that it’s a mistake to look to the government to sustain a Christian culture, they counter that the government should have an interest in promoting Christianity because it is essential to sustain our democratic society.
For example, Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said at the National Conservatism Conference in September, “I am thankful to live in a society that is the inheritance of a Judeo-Christian civilization because it has established the very freedoms that we know.” So far, so good. Mohler is right that Christianity played an important role in shaping America and inspiring some of our founding principles. …
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